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What are machine embroidery formats

This article is brought to you by Lizzsews.

Machine embroidery design files contain stitching directions for your embroidery machine. Every single time the needle moves, where it starts/ends, colour stops, and the size of the design. Graphic files don't contain this information. This is why embroidery designs must be digitized.



Digitizing is a way of 'converting' these graphic files into formats compatible with your embroidery machine. But it's not as simple as just converting. Embroidery software is needed, and it involves a huge learning curve.

Once you understand your embroidery machine enough that you know when a problem is occurring why it's occurring, you can start to learn to digitize if you wish. I don't recommend learning to digitize until you've learned your machine.

Embroidery formats are the different formats for your embroidery design files. Each format is compatible with a different machine brand:

JEF: Janome

PCD: Pfaff

PCM: Pfaff

PCQ: Pfaff

PCS: Pfaff

PEC: Brother

PES: Brother

VP3: Viking SE

XXX: Singer

CSD: Poem

EMD: Elna

EXP: Melco

HUS: Husqvarna

DST: ALL

The file format DST is compatible with virtually ALL embroidery machines. But it doesn't contain thread COLOUR information, this is where you would consult the thread chart that comes with your embroidery design.

The file, with the correct format, can be read by your machine when inserting your USB disk.

Recommended read: How to transfer embroidery designs to USB stick to embroidery machine

Always check the size of your embroidery design and the hoop size of your machine. If your hoop size is 4" x 4", your maximum embroidery pattern size is 4" x 4".


Recommended read: How to embroider in a larger hoop


Leave a comment below and let me know what file format you use! And don't forget to subscribe to stay up to date with all of Lizzsews new articles. See you next time!

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